Many people I know (and that’s a lot), when they hear the word squash said out loud, visibly squirm, and their faces contort in ways that remind me of the most unpleasant smells bombarding the senses all at once. Should any squash variety come near their lips it is never with happy digestive thoughts in mind. These poor folks must have visions of mutant zucchini and yellow squash charging them while they sleep, attacking their taste buds to the brink of near extinction.
As a former ten-year-old, I have personal experience in these real made-up life horrors. I, for one, felt strongly that our family garden, which we were required to help plant, weed, cultivate, and harvest (child labor laws were strictly enforced in our home: work or you’re in trouble when dad gets home), contained too many vegetables I found inedible. In fact, I was convinced that my father planted an unreasonable amount of squash each year. Furthermore, when my mother prepared that squash by slicing it and frying it with onions every single night, I was left with no choice, but to push it to the farthest corner of my round dinner plate.
Being equal opportunity feeders, my parents allowed every child an unlimited amount of time to sit at the table after everyone else had completed their meals to finish the parts untouched. Namely: our vegetables. Specifically: the vegetables we grew ourselves. Ever wonder what it would have been like to live with the Little Red Hen? Let me know and I will personally introduce you to my parents.
But seasons come and go, and ten-year-olds grow into young adults, who become parents, themselves, and suddenly growing your own food no longer feels like a punishment, but rather a reward. And just last week I think my dad was shocked when I asked him if he had any squash to spare. My disappointment was learning he didn’t.